New Years Resolutions and How to Make Them an Adventure and Not An Unobtainable Quest

Have you ever wondered how in the world your clothes dryer could be so hungry that it eats your socks?  Why the lid on a pickle jar always seems to have been sealed by a ninja?   Why driving down a country road the smell of pig poop always seems to filter in the direction you’re traveling?  Life is full of questions, it is how we choose to seek out which need answering with the mind, by skill or by listening to our inner voice to find the answers we seek, and what we should just take as circumstance.

As the year draws to a close, we tend to reflect upon the past twelve months and prepare to welcome the new.  Sitting right in front of us are some of the most personal questions of all.  What will my new year’s resolution be?  What will I make as my new goal?  What will I plan to give up, plan to achieve, and hope to change?  These questions may seem simplistic, yet matter to us, or we would not have saved them until the socially acceptable time to place them into a resolution has arrived.

According to research done in 2012 by the University of Scranton, Published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology,  almost 60% of Americans make new year’s resolutions yet less than 46% of us successfully follow through with at least one resolution beyond the first six months of the year and approximately 8% continue on beyond that. Of that percentile; the majority were resolutions and goals related to weight loss, healthier living, quitting smoking and other means of self improvement.

So if you’re going to be one of the 60%, make sure you choose realistic goals that you are willing to put some effort into following through with.  Many of us use the New Year as an opportunity to make our personal multi page “bucket list” of things we want to do or total personal or professional makeovers we hope achieve.

Although nice to aspire a drastic change, experts claim the average person has far too many competing priorities that this type of approach will be a set-up for failure.  If we try to aim our rocket of hope to high, and shoot for the moon, we might find ourselves ending up failing to even firing our engines off the launch pad on January 1st.

It is more sensible to set small, simple attainable goals throughout the whole year, rather than singular, overwhelming goals.  Remember to set goals that are tangible.  Making resolutions that are ambiguous can be inspiring and entertaining to our psyche, but the difficulty in achieving them, means that excitement can rapidly give way to frustration.

Resolutions are more successful in follow through when they are bounded by rational, achievable metrics.  For example; if your goal is to lose weight, you may find it easier instead of staring at a scale every morning, and wondering why the numbers don’t drop, choose to make a short term goal, such as; for six weeks I will not eat potato chips and soda, or for two months I will not take second portions at suppertime, and the result may be better choices with a better sense of accomplishment, in return causing a positive result in taking off a few pounds as well.  Be specific and set yourself a clear ambition.  Instead of saying “I am going to get a gym membership in 2014”, sign up for yoga classes or getting on a treadmill two mornings a week.  “Vague goals begat vague resolutions, when you cannot measure some form of progress or success in completion”, Says John Norcross from University of Scranton.

In this age of social media and electronics, make your goals obvious.  Experts recommend charting your goals in some fashion.  Even though there is no universal strategic method for success, sometimes making a clearly defined to-do list is a good enough reminder for one to stay on track.  Try journaling, or creating a personal blog, to share with friends and family you trust and that support your goals, without judgment.  Share your goals with some Facebook or other social media friends as a means of accountability, which will tend to make you want to reach your goals, when you have a personal cheering squad and support system.

I had a friend, who decided she was going to try and curb her shopaholic tendencies and pay off her 24,000.00 in credit card debt.  She decided to make it her New Years resolution,  and knew it would be a hard battle to accomplish on her own, so she went public with it.  She created a blog, and invited all her friends to follow her as she made the effort to transform herself from a shopaholic to a spendthrift.  By sharing what she didn’t spend, and how much she saved by changing her habits publically, she was able to curb her budget and ended up paying off her debt within two years.  She claimed that sharing her resolution was her way of holding herself accountable.

Most importantly have faith.  Believe in yourself. By taking the first step and setting simple and realistic smaller goals, you raise your chances of achieving that goal significantly.  When goals are set too high or without specific means of measurement in progress, we tend to abandon them the moment we hit the first bump in the road.  More often than not, people who are not successful in keeping their resolutions blame their own lack of willpower.  If you’re not ready to stick to it and pursue your goal, or give up what you choose to forego, you will not succeed.  You have to be willing to put in the effort, and only when you’re ready and you’re doing for yourself and not others.

Many times we have heard people say they have no “willpower’.  After doing much research and several surveys on the subject of New Year’s resolutions, I found that most people felt that they lacked the willpower to follow through and that they could not complete their goals because they lost their “drive” to do so.  You have as much willpower as you THINK you have.  Which means; that on some personal level, your journey toward self-improvement through setting your New Year’s resolutions will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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